BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (13-12-2-1), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, could not recover from a three-goal deficit in the first period on Friday and suffered a 5-2 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds (13-18-1-0) at the MassMutual Center.
Mitch Vande Sompel and Josh Ho-Sang each scored in the middle frame and Bridgeport was strong on special teams, going 1-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, but the Thunderbirds defeated their division rival for the third straight weekend.
Springfield now leads the season series 3-2-0-0, with the home team winning all five matchups so far.
Former Sound Tigers forward Anthony Greco was the catalyst in Springfield’s victory, leading the team with four points (two goals, two assists) and a plus-four rating. Greco helped score the game’s first goal at 9:57 of the opening frame when he exited the penalty box and brushed a pass to a hard charging Curtis Valk, who received it and skated over the blue line to set up a 3-on-1 rush. Valk kept it the entire way and stickhandled to the right circle, where he slowed and fired a wrist shot past the stick side of Kristers Gudlevskis.
Greco made it 2-0 at the 14:25 mark when he filtered a shot between Gudlevskis’ leg pads for his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Ed Wittchow advanced the puck to Greco through the neutral zone and the latter fought off a pair of Sound Tigers defensemen before letting a forehand shot go from the right hash marks.
Thirty-five seconds later, Rob Hamilton put Springfield on top 3-0 with his first AHL goal. Shortly after a faceoff, Greco loaded up and ripped a slap shot from the top of the left circle that Gudlevskis kicked back, but Hamilton cleaned up the rebound from below the hash marks at 15:00.
The Sound Tigers bounced back with two goals on 12 shots in the second period to make it 3-2. Vande Sompel registered his third goal of the season at the 6:18 mark after receiving a pass from Seth Helgeson at the right point. The rookie defenseman proceeded to set up and blast a slap shot through Casey Bailey’s screen in front and past goaltender Samuel Montembeault.
Ho-Sang notched the only power-play goal of the evening at the 12:01 mark with Springfield’s Bobby Farnham in the box for slashing. After establishing position in the offensive zone, Michael Dal Colle created the opportunity by faking a slap shot in the right circle and instead, sliding a cross-ice pass to Ho-Sang on the left side. There, the second-year forward slammed home a one-time shot to make it 3-2. Ho-Sang also extended his AHL point streak to six games.
Despite heavy pressure at times in the third period and several remarkable glove saves by Montembeault, the Sound Tigers could not even things up and instead, Dryden Hunt regained Springfield’s two-goal advantage at 17:48 of the third period. Greco capped the 5-2 final with an empty-net tally in the final five seconds to help the Thunderbirds capture their third straight win overall, and their fourth straight at home.
Gudlevskis (4-6-2) made 23 saves on 26 shots, while Montembeault (7-11-1) turned aside 31 of the chances he faced. Bridgeport outshot Springfield 33-28 and has not outshot its opponent in six straight contests.
Next Time Out: The Sound Tigers wrap up their pre-holiday slate Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. matchup against the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Fans can follow all of the live action on the Sound Tigers Radio Network and AHL Live, beginning with the pre-game show at 2:45 p.m.
Guarantee Your Seats: Flex plans are on sale now for the 2017-18 campaign, offering the greatest savings and ultimate flexibility of all ticket packages. Pick between a full-season, 20-game, 15-game or 10-game plan and you'll also be entitled to exclusive benefits, including the ticket holder exchange policy, which means any unused tickets can be traded for future games. Please contact Brad Dworin at 203-345-4813 or via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to guarantee your seats.
Don't Go It Alone: Whether it's a corporate outing, a fundraiser, or just friends getting together, a group outing with the Sound Tigers will guarantee an unforgettable experience filled with fast-paced action on the ice, great music, promotions and contests at an affordable price. The Sound Tigers have a variety of packages and promotional events to offer. Please call the team's front office at 203-345-2300 ext. 7 for more information on the benefits of bringing your group to a future game!
About the Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Founded in 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Hockey Club is the top minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. Don't miss your chance to take part in the family fun entertainment happening every home game at Webster Bank Arena. For further information on ticket or sponsorship opportunities, call our office at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail email@example.com. Keep up with the latest Sound Tigers news on Facebook and on Twitter. For more team information, log on to soundtigers.com.